The Florida Legislature announced it will not be drawing the redistricting congressional maps but instead, will defer to the maps drawn up by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis became involved with the process earlier in 2022 when he submitted his own plans outside of the legislature’s recommendations.

“We are awaiting a communication from the Governor’s Office with a map that he will support,” said Republican leaders in a joint memo. “Our intention is to provide the Governor’s Office opportunities to present that information before House and Senate redistricting committees.”

Historically and constitutionally, the Florida Legislature is tasked with devising the congressional maps after redistricting stemming from the census. However, DeSantis has previously said he would veto any map the legislature put forward where Congressional District 5 remains intact.

DeSantis has referred to District 5 as a “racial gerrymander” as the district is a majority-minority district.

“Congressional District 5 in both primary and secondary maps enacted by the Legislature violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it assigns voters primarily on the basis of race but is not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest,” said Ryan Newman, general counsel for DeSantis.

The veto that DeSantis utilized was on the Florida Senate’s map proposal while the Florida House proposed a primary map with a secondary map in the event the first was deemed unconstitutional.

Florida Democrats have fought DeSantis’ efforts to redraw District 5 saying the district needs to be upheld in order to preserve a historic minority district with roots in the post-antebellum South. They have, additionally, claimed a legal issue based on the legislature not drawing the maps and deferring to DeSantis’ team.

“Sounds like we need a redo of Schoolhouse Rock’s three branches of government since checks & balances don’t seem to exist in Florida anymore,” said Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando).

District 5 is currently held by Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL-5) and he released an official statement saying the legislature caved to DeSantis’ requests.

“The Florida Legislature is caving to the intimidation of DeSantis and his desire to create additional Republican seats in Congress by eliminating minority-access districts,” Lawson said. “Previously, the Florida Supreme Court scolded the Florida Legislature for injecting partisan politics into the reapportionment process. Florida voters were hopeful that legislators would have learned their lesson. They did not. Again, I am not surprised, but disappointed with the Legislature’s inability to fulfill their constitutional duties as elected officials without political interference from DeSantis.”

No timetable has yet been set for when DeSantis’ team will offer their first set of maps for the legislature to consider.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.